“What could you possibly talk about for an hour and a half or two hours? I thought you’d just sit down, deal out some cards, and tell people what you see for 20 minutes or so.” From time to time, someone will say this sort of thing to me. Perhaps in the fortune-telling model of using the tarot (or any other symbolic tool) that’s what happens, but not in tarot counselling or what I like to call Evolutionary Tarot or Depth Tarot.
A client deserves time out for her- or him-self, a sanctuary free from the sound bites and drive-by news flashes that pass for communication in 21st century Western culture. A tarot counselling client will derive richer insights and more creative strategies when s/he is given ample time and space to allow these to emerge. It’s important to remember that a particular situation or a process of personal evolution takes care and nurturing. A conscious tarot encounter that touches the soul and stimulates helpful change is a conversation between practitioner and querent, not a monologue to show off how “right” the reader is. This type of dialogue, a give and take between two people exchanging ideas and feelings about time-honoured symbols and strategic questions, takes time.
Imagine curling into your favourite cosy chair or sofa after a hard week at work. A longer Depth Tarot session is like this in that both reader and readee step over a threshold from everyday activity into a cushion of trust that allows both to sink comfortably into a meaningful exploration. The seeker can be witnessed deeply, listened to, acknowledged, challenged, stretched, mirrored in a more nuanced manner by the cards that are chosen. By the end of a longer consultation, the client feels satisfied that many facets of his or her topic have been addressed and the practitioner feels satisfied that he or she has provided something of value. Think of it as a sort of “spa for the soul”.
People often elect to spend 90 minutes or two hours with the tarot and me at important times of life — birthdays, work-related changes, beginnings or endings of important connections with people or organisations, when there’s a sense that “something more” wants to make itself known, at the entry into a new year, at solstices and equinoxes, when they shift from adulthood into sagehood or cronedom, when coming out as queer or questioning, and at other times of transition. The consultation process becomes a significant part of their rites of passage.
So, what can we talk about in that time frame? A lot! And clients get the chance to embody the card symbols, to try on in their gestures, movements, and feelings in order to discover what particular concepts can be like for them so they can choose with more awareness the paths that are healthiest for them. That can’t be done in a “wham bam, thank you Sam” tarot reading. It requires the tending that takes place in something more human-paced and compassionate. Instead of feeling bamboozled with a lot of “tarot chat”, the person leaves the session feeling confident and aligned with her/his power, ready to contribute even more to a life worth living. That, to me, is worth the time we spend together.
What time do YOU need to enter into council with your inner wisdom?
Image: The Hermit from the New Tarot (Hurley, Hurley, and Horler).